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Tulane named ninth most expensive college

U.S. News & World Report’s has listed Tulane as number nine in its “10 Most Expensive Private Colleges” report for 2011-12, with tuition and fees totaling $43,434.

Columbia University, Vassar College and Trinity College in Connecticut topped the list as the nation’s most expensive universities. The only Southern university represented in the top 10, Tulane beat out peer schools Vanderbilt, Duke and Emory for highest sticker price. Tulane’s tuition and fees top those of schools like Harvard, Yale and Princeton.

The report complements a similar set of statistics compiled in October by Bloomberg Businessweek which listed Tulane as the 11th most expensive college nationally, with annual expenses, including room and board, totaling $57,933 for 2011. Businessweek noted that 63 percent of freshmen who applied for financial aid for the 2011-12 school year are currently receiving need-based assistance at an average amount of $34,341 annually.

The steady increase in Tulane’s tuition through the years, however, often is balanced by the efforts of the financial aid office. Sophomore Jamie Bronder, who is studying abroad in Paris, said that shouldering Tulane’s comparatively steep tuition along with costs of living in Paris is a struggle.

“Everyone who I personally know at Tulane gets at least some sort of scholarship,” Bronder said. “But the fact remains that it costs $57,000 to go to 15 hours of class a week, [and] I am going to graduate with at least $15,000 in debt.”

Yvette Jones, executive vice president for university relations and development, said tuition increases during the past few years are due in part to the protracted economic recession.

“Tuition increases at Tulane are triggered by increases in the day-to-day operational costs of running Tulane,” Jones said via email.

“These costs include items such as increased health premiums for our faculty and other employees, increased property and liability insurance, utilities, maintenance of buildings and equipment, office supplies, faculty salaries and more. Because our endowment is much smaller than other private universities our size, Tulane must depend on tuition for most of its operating costs. So when operating costs increase, tuition increases too.”

Sophomore Liza Brownstone came to Tulane in 2010 on a full tuition merit scholarship. “There’s no way I would have paid $57,000 to have come here,” Brownstone said. She conceded, however, that the ranking may add to the university’s national prestige.

“That’s part of the reason I chose to go here,” Brownstone said, “It’s the same tuition as the really, really good colleges, so [I thought], ‘There must be something good about it.’”

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